Week 5 will see us head into the second half of the split with everything still to play for at both ends of the table.
by Ryan Payne | @Payney_94 | Jun 28, 2017, 8:05pm BST
Rather than doing an in depth review on each game from week 4, I’m going to look at how each team stands going into week 5 from top to bottom, and how I think the second half of the split will fair for them.
Currently sitting pretty at the top of the standings on their own for the first time this split, Immortals are now the team to beat. Their series against CLG in week 4 was the most anticipated match of the split so far, and Immortals stepped up to the plate with aplomb. They utterly destroyed CLG in game 1 and despite being far behind in kills in game 2, still had a gold lead due to their fantastic map team play, focusing on cs and objectives, not allowing CLG to draw them into fighting as much as they wanted.
In their second series they came from behind to win 2-1 against Dignitas, beating the two teams sitting alongside them going into week 4. This was a big statement for Immortals, and if they can beat TSM in their last series of the first round robin, they will have well and truly cemented themselves as the best team currently in NA, and will be looking to continue their fine team performances throughout the second half of the split, hoping to take first place in the regular season.
Immortals’ position come the end of the split will depend a lot of the match against TSM. I would go as far to say that if they win it, I think they’ll take 1st. If they lose it, I think they’ll regroup and still finish above CLG in 2nd with their consistency.
Counter Logic Gaming (6-2)
CLG will not be happy with the loss to Immortals. They gave them Xmithie and took Dardoch as they felt it was the better fit for them and would take them to the number one spot in NA, and therefore Worlds. So to lose so convincingly to the side they gave their jungler too must hurt them.
They did bounce back with a win over Envy to finish week 4 in second alongside TSM, but they didn’t win it in the dominating fashion they are hoping to have over teams.
The aggressive play style they play seemed to be the perfect fit for Dardoch who’s mechanics from the jungle are up their with the best, but unfortunately for them their gun-ho play has left them extremely vulnerable against teams that focus on a strong team synergy rather than attacking individual mechanics (as seen in the losses to Immortals and TSM).
I think that’s the big point to take from CLG’s start. When it’s come to the two biggest games of their split so far, they have come up short against arguably the best two teams in the league right now.
If they want to go on to finish top of the pile and go all the way through finals, they will need to take a step back occasionally and think about what they’re doing, rather than just beating teams into submission. If they don’t, TSM and Immortals will beat them again and the best they can hope for is 3rd in the regular season.
Team Solo Mid (6-2)
TSM had a struggling start to the split, playing the other 4 teams currently in the top 5, coming out of week 2 at 2-2. Since then, they have continued to work on playing compositions they aren’t necessarily comfortable with in order to give them a more diverse and rounder play style (perhaps aimed at worlds after this split), and it hasn’t hampered them as they’ve won their last 4 series and steadily looked better with each one.
After two composed wins over Flyquest and Echo Fox in week 4 they sit joint second with CLG, I think they are probably the second best performing team in the league right now, looking more consistent than every one other than Immortals.
Teams continue to let Svenskeren play Lee Sin, and he punishes them every time. Although they might look to ban him out from now on, he must have gained so much confidence from his recent upturn in form, that even putting him on different champions might not be enough to stop him helping his side regain that number one spot in NA.
Team Dignitas (5-3)
Dignitas came into week 4 joint top of the league with Immortals and CLG, but now find themselves sitting joint 4th as we approach the half way point of the split. Admittedly they had two tough series against Immortals and Cloud 9, but after the start to summer they had they needed to win at least one of these if they wanted to keep being seen as one of the top teams in NA.
They won the first game in both series, but as they continue to play primarily around Ssumday, teams seem to be finding them out throughout the series. In response to their loss to Immortals, Dig brought new ADC sub Altec in for LOD, but it didn’t have the result bringing Shrimp in did earlier on this summer.
With Flyquest and Envy to play in week 5, Dig have a good chance to get back to winning ways and could see themselves move back up the standings as the teams around them play each other. I think this will be the story of the split for Dig, they will carry on beating the teams below them that can’t handle Ssumday in the side lanes, but will lose to the league’s top teams unless they can add another play style to their tactic pages.
Cloud 9 (5-3)
Where would Cloud 9 be without Jensen in the mid lane? As he continues to dominate over the over mid laners in the league and has put himself in early contention for the MVP, he is carrying his team mates over the line more often than not.
Whilst this is not ideally what the C9 organisation will be wanting as they look to regain top spot in NA, it does mean that if the rest of their roster can step back up to their very best, sitting at 5-3 after not being at their best is not a bad position to be in at all.
They had a good week 4, beating Liquid and Dignitas, with the latter being a very good win for them, taking them level with Dig in the standings, a team that has started much better than them on paper.
Week 5 could be their season defining one as the race for worlds looks as close as ever, and playing TSM/CLG in the same week is the chance for them to put a marker down and show they are ready to beat the others in dethroning TSM as the kings of NA. Lose both these games however, and sitting at 5-5 is certainly not good enough for a team of this caliber.
Team Envy (4-4)
After sitting a 3-1 coming out of week 2, Envy went on a 3 match losing streak before winning a comeback 2-1 series against Flyquest in their last series to go 4-4 for the split.
It’s been a disappointing downturn in for Envy, who put aside their weaknesses from Spring to make a fantastic start to Summer and would have been hoping to push on from their and continue to keep a positive w/l ratio for the rest of the split. They still sit even right now, and after the terrible spring split they had this has still been a much better split for them.
They play Phoenix 1 and Dignitas in week 5 which will both be seen as winnable, as they look to stay well above the pack fighting relegation below them and then push on to sneak into a play off spot come the end of the split.
Echo Fox (3-5)
Considering Echo Fox won both their matches in the opening week, sitting at a 3-5 record has been a very poor last 3 weeks for them. Their 3 wins have come against Fly, Liquid and Envy, so it doesn’t take too much analysis to say they’ve struggled against the top half of the league.
They’ve decided to use a lot of their 10 man roster, as owner Rick Fox looks to prepare them for the future of franchised life, getting a strong and competitive squad ready to compete at the top from next year. Because of that, their short term successes appear to be very few and far between, as they are too good a team to end up languishing at the bottom, but not good enough over the course of a whole series to push for play-offs right now.
They play Liquid and Flyquest in week 5, so will extremely disappointed if they do lose either of those and will potentially have to start looking over their shoulders if that happens. If they win both of them, they will continue their mid table mediocrity for the remainder of the split.
Team Liquid (2-6)
When Liquid brought in Slooshi for Goldenglue this week, I was a bit disappointed as Glue had started to look better over the last couple of series. After the 2-0 loss to Cloud 9 I continued to feel this way, however, as was pointed out on the NA LCS livestream, his only 2 appearances so far had seen him playing against Froggen and Jensen, arguably the two best performing mid laners so far this split.
They stuck with Slooshi and Kongkwan and it paid off for them against Phoenix 1, playing a fantastic game 1 and 3. The third game was one of the best performances we’ve seen from any team in the league in summer.
With that second win Liquid have managed to pull themselves off of the bottom of the standings, and with their next series against the out of form Echo Fox, they will be looking to work their way away from the bottom end of the table after adding Inori into their roster from P1.
Flyquest have been the most consistently poor team this split, the only highlight coming against the side they share bottom place with, Phoenix 1. This incredibly experienced roster appears to have run out of ideas up against the younger and hungrier players/teams in NA.
The team doesn’t seem overly ambitious right now as there have been talks of whether they would have the finances to get franchising from next year, and I would be surprised to see Moon as part of the roster for much longer if that does end up being the case.
Fly play Dignitas and Echo Fox in week 5, with the latter looking their only feasible chance of getting a win and try to pull themselves out of the last battle they currently find themselves in.
Phoenix 1 (1-7)
If ever there was a crash back down to earth, the series against Liquid was certainly that for Phoenix 1. After getting their first split win by beating Echo Fox in 2 games and looking very strong with MikeYeung and Xpecial gelling into the team well, many people (myself included) thought they would push on from there and climb back up the table.
This wasn’t to be the case however, as they went down with a whimper in game 3 to Liquid, getting destroyed in a one sided 28 minute game that left P1 joint bottom with Flyquest at 1-7.
It was starting to look rather positive for P1, so it will be interesting to see how the Liquid setback affects them. The experience of Xpecial is going to be crucial here to keep his team’s morale up as there have been vast improvements recently, not counting the Liquid series.
They play Envy and Immortals in week 5. Envy will pose them a challenge but is definitely a winnable match, but Immortals are currently the best performing team in the league and it will take a monumental team effort to overcome them. Time will tell whether P1 will elevate themselves to the position their roster should be in, or whether they’ve just left themselves to much to do going into the second half of the split.